Don’t get me wrong, I like eggplant. I use it in various Asian dishes, grilled (used as a sandwich filling), in salads and still I have more eggplant. (more…)
Category Archives: garden
For one glorious week in May, we have spring here in New Orleans! Right around Mother’s day the threat of frost leaves, the rains die down and the weather is reasonably cool. That’s it! One wonderful week before it gets too hot and muggy to want to move.
The big news in our house is that we picked and ate our first tomato of the season. We started the seedlings in February. We planted seven different kinds of seeds: cherries, local creole strains and several hot weather varieties. We watched them come up, replanted them in larger pots carefully fed and watered them. We transfered them to their permanent homes at the beginning of May. Right now we have one cherry tomato with a bunch of fruit and a lot of the others are in full flower. If we can fight off the black cutworms, the green horn worms and the swarms of insects that love this city, we are set to have a great tomato crop. (more…)
Last week the weather was alternatively sunny and humid or rainy and even more humid. The herbs really love it and the basil has grown like mad. By Saturday it was starting to bolt and take over the garden.
I was down to use it or lose it time. I waded through the mud, out to the garden and started cutting. Brought in all the cuttings, stripped the leaves and the bolted flowers. Ended up with 8 cups of washed and tightly packed leaves and bolted flowers. (more…)
The funny thing about gardening is that once you figure it out in one place there is NO guarantee you will be successful (at first) in a different place.
Some of the tomatoes are being eaten by something – not cutworms, but something I have yet to identify. There are bugs and worms that I have never seen before! So far no aphids like the ones that drove me crazy in Prescott last year. Instead we have Assassin bugs (good), beetles (bad) and and other very strange insects like wasp moths. The insect identification book is getting heavy use.
The soil here is amazing; river bottom mud. Really sad to not be using it this year. Until we have it tested it is unwise to plant food. Katrina left a lot of chemicals in the ground, so until you have your own soil tested you can’t know if you have any contaminates like lead or mercury. And if there are contaminates we need to know what they are! For this year we have contented ourselves with grow beds.
The one thing we have planted in the ground was milkweed. Someone told Meggan it would attract Monarchs. She bought some and planted it. No Monarchs! We started to think that milkweed and Monarchs were an urban legend. And then. . .the Monarch’s appeared. We have quite a collection that fly around all day. They put on a real show! The Monarchs have been joined by Black Swallow Tail and a couple of other ones I can’t identify.
Here is a picture of the milkweed and a Monarch – just look for the circle; I know it’s hard to see but you will get the idea. They are so beautiful!
Meg and I went to the nursery over the weekend and invested in $70 worth of butterfly and hummingbird attracting plants to create a “butterfly garden.” They are all planted neatly along the front fence.
So far – no butterflies and no hummingbirds. Either another urban legend or a lesson in patience. . . we’ll see.
My head is still spinning – over the last two months we packed up our home in Prescott, drove ourselves and the three cats 1650 miles across company and have more or less moved into to our new home. What an incredible amount of experience crammed into a few weeks!
We got here and walked into an exquisitely painted but very bare kitchen – the only item in it was the lonely little utility sink.
We think that the kitchen is the most important room in the house so we started there; literally started from the ground up. We were told that there was a lovely long-leaf pine floor under the tile debris. Which is why David spent the first day we were here sanding of the glue and junk off the floor. When he was done we saw that there was indeed beautiful wood. Beautiful wood badly in need of repair and loving care. Decided to delay immediate work and instead lay down cheap vinyl to protect the from any further damage. We will tackle this in the fall when it gets a little cooler!
Once we had a decision on the floor we moved in a fridge, a toaster oven, microwave and electric frying pan. Went out and got a gas grill and on the way home stopped at Farmer’s Market. While there we scored some corn, tomatoes, onions and greens. Later that afternoon we had our first home cooked meal in a couple of weeks: roasted corn on the cob along with grilled onions and tomatoes. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a meal more!
We were in business. Although I have to say that cooking with no counter space is a trick. David set up a rolling island, a couple of folding tables and put together a rolling storage rack. We gleefully refer to the process as camping in our own house. Very comfortable camping all things considered!
While we camped for the next couple of days, we feasted on a big salad made from fresh greens, tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers. Grilled and enjoyed eggplant, squash, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. Even if we were camping it still felt downright luxurious to eat simple, home prepared fresh veggies.
At the end of the first week we had the most exciting day of all — the day we got a real gas stove and range!! I immediately made pasta sauce, started soaking black beans and dug out some rice.
The other exciting thing was the gift of a triple bowl 44 inch sink. Now all we need is something to put it on. That is next weeks project: find kitchen cabinets and the counter top to get installed asap. Did I mention that in the meantime we are just happy to be eating real food again?
One of the wonderful things about New Orleans at this time of year are all the Farmer’s Markets. You can find ones on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. We are taking full advantage! Today we got 10 lbs of “seconds” tomatoes and a bunch of peppers and onions so tomorrow we make salsa!
Life should be calming down a bit in the next couple of weeks. I will finally get to start posting on a regular basis. I have missed writing more than I thought possible. So watch for new posts. Lots of nutrition news, garden updates, cooking tips and our other NOLA adventures.
And there, my friends, you have it – the NOLA adventure update! Stayed tuned!
Three weeks ago, our daughter Meggan, built some raised garden beds in the side yard. She ordered a truckload of river bottom compost and filled the bed.. A couple of days later she planted some tomatoes, peppers, squash and herbs.
The best part is that there is still an whole lot of compost left and next week we should be able to build a couple more beds and plant more stuff.
I can hardly wait to get my hands in that dirt and plant some seeds. Thinking about pole beans, hot-weather kale and herbs.
All we have to do is get there. . .
Spring means that we will be planting a garden soon. We know from experience that planting anything outside before Mother’s day is just setting yourself up for heartbreak! So for right now we are prepping the greenhouse for planting next week. Lots of weeds, dust and dirt to move around.
Which is why I know it is Spring. Besides all the dirt and dust, every plant and tree Prescott is in bloom. Or at least that is what my sinuses think. I can’t breath, my nose is alternatively running or completely stuffed up and I seem to have a chronic headache.
I have tried everything to make me breath better from local bee honey to stinging nettles and a neti pot. The neti pot worked best. Unfortunately, you have to be a contortionist to use it and/or be willing to be drenched by the time you are done. (more…)
The calendar says it is fall, but evidently Mother Nature missed the memo. Over the weekend we had our first hard freeze. Lows were in the low 20s and a couple of days the high never got above 40.
The kitchen garden took a real beating – you can see the dahlias on the left and the tomato plants on the right. Kinda sad! Almost depressing.
The greenhouse is doing it’s job! Summer is over (it went down to 31 degrees last night). Fortunately the tomatoes and peppers are oblivious to those facts and growing like mad. Here is yesterday’s harvest!
We gathered more tomatoes this morning and decided to prolong our personal summer by making a “final” gazpacho for the year. (more…)
Here is a blog piece and the recipe written by my wonderful friend Kay Luckett. Kay is the former owner of Memorable Occasions, a catering and event production company in Los Angeles, CA. She did this for 20 years and her biggest thrill was catering for Julia Child in 1991 before she escaped from L.A. She now owns Get Organized, a business that organizes people and businesses in Prescott, AZ.
My friend Genene, who lives here in Prescott out by Thumb Butte, has a home that is a vegetarian paradise. The whole back yard was filled with huge containers of veggies that have grown all season and were just harvested. She and her husband, David, erected an amazing green house which they have filled with veggies that she says will grow most of the winter. These include green peppers, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes (both cherry and full size), herbs, marigolds, beets, and onions to name a few. (more…)